In Athens, the Greek lawmakers passed a crucial austerity bill on Thursday to secure the next round of international rescue loans from its creditors and stave off bankruptcy. This is despite the fierce political and civil opposition to more belt-tightening.
The bill which will further cut salaries and increase tax, won 153-128 in the 300-member Parliament. The tough measures will also include rising the retirement age to 67, eliminating employee benefits and implementing laws to make it easier for businesses to fire and transfer civil servants who are currently guaranteed jobs for life.
Meanwhile, anti-austerity demonstrations massed around the parliament in Athens, hurling firebombs while the Greek police responded with water cannons, stun grenades and tear gas.
Greece is forced to implement these cuts to unlock 31.5 billion euro tranche aid form of its troika of international creditors – the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Weak German Data Weighed Upon Euro
For the 24 hours to 23:00 GMT, EUR declined 0.38% against the USD and closed at 1.2757, after the European Commission downgraded its 2013 growth forecast for the 17-nation economy to just 0.1% from the 1.0% projected earlier this year. Furthermore, EU forecasted that the Euro-zone economy would shrink 0.4% in 2012, slightly worse than the 0.3% contraction forecasted earlier.